Agency Issues New ADA|Water Transport Rules

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Transportation Department has issued new rules to keep boat operators from discriminating on the basis of disability.

     While the Americans with Disabilities Act always has applied to passenger vessels, such as ferries, sightseeing vessels and cruise ships, specific rules had not been laid out.
     The new rules apply to operators of foreign-flag vessels, such as cruise ships that come to U.S. ports, as well as U.S. vessels, and are regarding service and policy issues. Issues concerning physical accessibility standards will be addressed later, along with proposed passenger vessel accessibility guidelines from the U.S. Access Board.
     Vessel size is only relevant to physical accessibility exemptions; the service and policy rules apply to operators of all sizes of vessels. However, only companies “primarily engaged in the business of transporting people,” need to comply with the new rules.
     While the new rules are final, and take effect Nov. 3, the agency requests comment on emotional support animals, mobility aids, and the relationship between the rules of the Transportation Department and the Justice Department.
     Click on the document icon for this regulation and others.

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